"Idol" boots last woman singer, Allison Iraheta
By Alex Dobuzinskis
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Allison Iraheta was eliminated by "American Idol" viewers on Wednesday in a season-high tally of 64 million votes that ousted the last surviving woman singer and left three finalists standing.
Iraheta, 17, wiped her eyes moments after host Ryan Seacrest announced her name, but tears streamed down as she sang the Janis Joplin song "Cry Baby" in her final performance on the top-rated U.S. television talent show.
The red-haired singer's swan song had the two women judges standing and cheering, and afterward Seacrest, who also hosts a radio show, made a prediction about Iraheta.
"I know I'm going to be playing you on the radio real soon," Seacrest told her.
She was not asked how she felt about the elimination and she barely spoke, but she hugged her former rivals.
The gravelly-voiced singer often received high praise from the judges, with panelist Kara DioGuardi telling her: "You sing like you've been singing for 400 years."
Iraheta's elimination on "Idol's" Rock Week, with former Guns N' Roses guitarist Slash as the guest mentor, was somewhat surprising because the judges have described her and presumed frontrunner Adam Lambert as rockers, while fellow contestants Kris Allen and Danny Gokey had been told that rock was not their style.
In contrast to previous weeks when the bottom three vote-getters were grouped together, Seacrest announced the top three finalists in random order, so it was impossible to know who had received the most votes.
Also on Wednesday night's broadcast, judge Paula Abdul sang " Here for the Music" from her upcoming album.
"American Idol" pits aspiring singers against one another in a series of competitions that focus on a musical theme each week. It is the most-watched television show in the United States, with more than 25 million viewers per episode, and is broadcast by the Fox network, a unit of News Corp.
Past winners including Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood, and runners-up such as Clay Aiken and Jennifer Hudson have gone on to lucrative careers.
The winner of the show's eighth season will be announced during a live finale on May 20.
(Editing by Bob Tourtellotte and Vicki Allen)